How to sleep train your newborn
I was always afraid to have children because of the lifestyle I would of have to give up. I was a Cirque du Soleil performer, which means I was going to bed at 3 AM after shows and waking up around 10 AM. I loved my routine and it worked great for my husband and I, a performer as well. I couldn’t imagine getting up at 6 AM, being productive and taking care of a little human. Just the thought of it was inconceivable.
Next thing you know, I got pregnant and here we were! When I had my son Luca, I was up in the middle of the night searching the internet for some help on how to sleep train your newborn. My beauty sleep was gone forever, and I would never be able to sleep in AGAIN!! Or so I thought…
Quite the contrary, not only do I get loads of sleep, but I am making it a priority for my whole family.
I started to sleep train my baby boy at 4 months and he was sleeping from 7:30PM to 7AM. He took 3 solid naps during the day, one cat nap in the evening, would fall asleep easily at bedtime and would sleep through the night. If I would be tired, it would be because I was going to bed too late, and that was my fault! It was not because my little man was waking me up at night. If you are interested in feeling rested, like a champion, and ready to accomplish all the things you love, I would say to sleep train your newborn and get them on a schedule.
Disclaimer!! This is not for everyone. Having your baby on a schedule might be too strict for you. And that is ok! But for us, with sleep training, we have so much freedom because of our routine. My husband and I get to plan our day and we have our nights to do what makes us happy! We have some “ME” time and that’s what works for us. Our baby goes to bed at 7:30PM and we have a couple of hours to ourselves. For us, this is priceless and that’s what we want for our family.
This is what worked for us! Every child is different and every family has their reality and lifestyle. But I believe that establishing a schedule for your baby is the way to go. I am a true believer that you can have it all. For us, knowing when our baby is going to sleep gives us freedom and we can have a busy and accomplished life while having a rested child.
When you think of sleep training, you might think it means a rigid schedule and you want flexibility: for your own sanity and to allow your family to be out and about. However, by having a predictable routine, this actually allows for flexibility. Instead of wondering when the heck or how the heck you are going to get your child down, you will have CONFIDENCE and ASSURANCE that with your guidance, baby will be down within minutes of being in the crib. If there is a variation in schedule, they will know how to go back to their routine quickly and they will take less time to readjust to the new schedule. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The best thing you can do to help your baby to become a great sleeper is to teach them how to fall asleep independently. Without sleep training, many factors can mess with your newborns ability to sleep. Newborns are developing so fast and we need to constantly adjust to their needs. You may think you got things figured out, yay!… The next thing you know they are changing again! Your baby used to fall asleep rocked in your arms in 2 minutes. You think, wououuu that’s easy, I can do this. Next thing you know, 3 days later, that trick doesn’t work anymore. Newborns keep the parents on their toes and switch things up so fast! Thus, training your newborn to fall asleep independently is crucial – they will literally adjust to their own changes.
Facts about sleep for newborns
Now that your baby is a few weeks old, what can you do to teach them how to fall asleep unassisted (1)? Before talking about how to sleep train your newborn, here are some facts about sleep.
Fact # 1- Newborns sleep 16-18 hours a day total in 6 -7 short sleep periods.
Fact # 2- Newborn’s sleep is random. They usually sleep for about 2 hours followed by a varied period of wakefulness, then sleep again for 2 hours.
Fact # 3- At around 3-4 months, most babies circadian rhythm (2) changes. Mainly, rather than random sleep patterns, they will stay awake for longer periods of time during the day and most of their sleep will happen at night.
Tips to help your newborn become a great sleeper
1- Teach your baby to develop self-soothing techniques (3).
2- Watch your baby’s sleepy cues and put them down as soon as they show any signs of tiredness, usually between 1 to 1.5 hours of being awake.
3-Establish a eat, play, sleep routine for daytime.
4- Put your baby down awake, but drowsy.
5- Keep the night feedings boring and in the dark, no play!
6- Try to put your baby down in their crib at least once a day if you are used to rocking, bouncing or walking them to sleep. It will teach him the skills to fall asleep without your help at least once a day.
7- Create a calming environment for your baby to sleep in (4).
8- Use a white noise machine.
9- Swaddle your baby. If your baby is able to roll, wean the swaddle.
10- Keep a sleep log. It helps to establish a sleep schedule for your little one and his sleep progression.
11- Dress your baby comfortably for naps and bedtime.
12- Create a consistent bedtime and a naptime routine.
13- Keep your baby awake during feedings.
——> You got this!
It is definitely easier to “survive” your baby’s first weeks of life if you get some rest while your baby sleeps. I would suggest you put the chores on the side for a few weeks. Take time to recover from the birth, (yes dads that is for you too!) and to focus your little one’s need. If you are a breastfeeding mother, bond with your baby to establish and facilitate easy latching.
I hope this is helpful! I honestly think that the newborn phase is a blessing and it goes way too fast. I am sure that as parents you have heard this a lot, but I’ll say it again! ENJOY your little bundle of joy while you can. They are growing so fast and soon these moments will be memories!
As Always, Sleeping Babies=Happy Families